1989: Musical interests and Verdi tuning initiative
LaRouche and his wife have an interest in classical music up to the period of Brahms. A motto of LaRouche's European Workers' Party, is "Think like Beethoven"; movement offices typically include a piano and posters of German composers, and members are known for their choral singing at protest events and for using satirical lyrics tailored to their targets. LaRouche abhors popular music; he said in 1980, "Rock was not an accidental thing. This was done by people who set out in a deliberate way to subvert the United States. It was done by British intelligence," and wrote that the Beatles were "a product shaped according to British Psychological Warfare Division specifications." LaRouche movement members have protested at performances of Richard Wagner's operas, denouncing Wagner as an anti-Semite who found favor with the Nazis, and called a conductor "satanic" because he played contemporary music.
In 1989 LaRouche advocated that classical orchestras should use a concert pitch based on A above middle C (A4) tuned to 432 Hz, which the Schiller Institute called the "Verdi pitch," a pitch that Verdi had suggested as optimal, though he also composed and conducted in other pitches such as the French official diapason normal of 435 Hz, including his Requiem in 1874.
The Schiller Institute initiative attracted support from more than 300 opera stars, including Joan Sutherland, Plácido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti, who according to Opera Fanatic may or may not have been aware of LaRouche's politics. A spokesman for Domingo said Domingo had simply signed a questionnaire, had not been aware of its origins, and would not agree with LaRouche's politics. Renata Tebaldi and Piero Cappuccilli, who were running for the European Parliament on LaRouche's "Patriots for Italy" platform, attended Schiller Institute conferences as featured speakers. The discussions led to debates in the Italian parliament about reinstating Verdi's legislation. LaRouche gave an interview to National Public Radio on the initiative from prison. The initiative was opposed by the editor of Opera Fanatic, Stefan Zucker, who objected to the establishment of a "pitch police," and argued that LaRouche was using the issue to gain credibility.